U.S. Condemns Violence Against Foreigners

04/16/2015 | U.S. Embassy Spokesperson Jack Hillmeyer | PretoriaPress@state.gov

For Immediate Release

Thursday, April 16, 2015
U.S. Embassy Spokesperson Jack Hillmeyer | PretoriaPress@state.gov
+27 (12) 431-4000

The U.S. Embassy joins the South African government and other civil society leaders in condemning the violence against foreigners taking place in KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of South Africa. We remain concerned at the loss of innocent lives, destruction of property, and impact on families and communities, and we urge individuals involved to refrain from all forms of violence, exercise restraint, and rely on peaceful dialog to resolve any differences. 

“The U.S. government has long recognized the challenges posed by an influx of migrants and refugees throughout southern Africa and provides various forms of assistance in South Africa,“ said Patrick H. Gaspard, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa. “As an immigrant to my own country, my heart goes out to those who have been attacked for being different.” 
In remarks today before the South African Parliament on this topic, President Zuma concluded by saying, “Let us work together to provide support to all foreign nationals who have been affected by this violence.” 
The United States stands ready to help and has provided assistance through the following initiatives: 
  • The U.S. is the largest single donor to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC), directly funding 40% of UNHCR’s budget in the Africa region and approximately 20% for the ICRC. 
  • We provide over $1 million annually to enable IOM to assist and protect vulnerable migrants in Southern Africa. 
  • In 2014, the U.S. funded projects by South African non-governmental organizations totaling over $700,000 to provide job skills training for refugees, migrants and South Africans including English, Xhosa and Zulu language training; provide psycho-social support for refugees who experienced severe trauma; supported conflict mediation and reintegration services; and supported social cohesion efforts. 
  • In 2015, we plan to award an additional $25,000 in small grants to community organizations to tackle social cohesion issues in Eastern Cape and Western Cape. 
  • We recently released a call for proposals that will provide up to an additional $1 million in funding for non-governmental organizations working with urban refugees. This will bring our total funding for refugee programs in South Africa to approximately $1.3 million in 2015. 
  • The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed $2.25 million over the next three years to the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation to provide pyscho-social services to victims of torture residing in South Africa. This program will directly impact more than 4,700 individuals, mostly foreign nationals seeking asylum in South Africa. They will also work within communities to strengthen their abilities to support victims of torture. 
  • USAID has also committed $1 million to strengthen the ability of South African NGOs to engage citizens and build communities' relationships with government and elected leaders. This will provide citizens with productive outlets to voice concerns and frustrations rather than turn to violence. 
  • The U.S. has welcomed approximately 70,000 refugees annually to be resettled in the United States at our own expense, including 1,200 refugees per year living in South Africa who faced protection challenges including sexual and gender-based violence, inadequate livelihoods or repeated physical violence. 
  • We intend to continue offering resettlement to the U.S. for refugees in dire circumstances from South Africa when necessary. As part of our continuing commitment to resettlement as one of the three durable solutions, in 2014 we funded an NGO to open a Resettlement Support Center in Pretoria. This center will support U.S. resettlement operations in Southern Africa, including South Africa. 

For more information on U.S. government assistance on international population, refugee, and migration issues please go to: http://www.state.gov/j/prm/